Landscape Gardener faces homelessness

Thank you for reading “Groundsman in Crisis” today I want to introduce you to Sam who we met earlier this year.

Sam is a well-respected landscape gardener whose work has featured in the trade press so some details have been changed to protect his identity but, as always, the case is sadly true.

Sam was contracted to design and build a high profile, public, wonderfully ornate garden and was thrilled at the opportunity and the outcome. He was awaiting payment for the project when he learnt that the client had gone into liquidation, he was to receive nothing for his efforts.

Unable to pay his suppliers he fell into serious debt and after 25 years in business he was forced to fold. The stress and anxiety that Sam experienced, sadly, has resulted in him beginning unable to return to any form of work since.

Sam was told about Perennial by another agency who thought we might be able to provide a grant to repair his bathroom. We visited Sam and talked to him about his finances and he told us about his personal debts, it quickly became clear that urgent action was required as he had been selling all his possessions to pay his creditors and now had nothing left to offer them, he was at serious risk of losing his home.

Our Debt Advice Manager was contacted and she immediately began work, knowing only too well that the charging orders that had been applied to his property and the intention of one creditor to enforce bankruptcy meant that one missed payment would result in homelessness.

The creditors were all immediately contacted and negotiations began to reduce the monthly payments. Understandings were reached that, with a respected debt adviser working alongside him, no further action would be taken against Sam as long as negotiated payments are maintained.

The complexities of this case and the delicate mental health of the client are such that it is being managed by two senior staff, our Casework Manager and our Debt Advice Manager, who, alternately visit Sam monthly, working together with him to maximise his income, reduce his expenditure, assist with budgeting and deal swiftly with any problems as they arise. Working to an agreed plan, we believe Sam has a real chance of retaining his property and returning to work as a landscape gardener within the next 12 months.

We meet people like Sam every day, we know that there are many more that struggle on because they are ashamed of their situation. There is no need to be alone in this, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Our debt team do not judge and I promise you will feel better just for talking to them.

If you would like help or further information about our totally free and confidential debt advice service please do not hesitate to contact me.  

lchurchill@perennial.org.uk

01275 817924 / 07813 148810

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    This story is one of the reasons why I am pleased to support Perennial.

    Sadly our industry has created a perception that we live in a show garden environment where most landscapers/designers are celebrities jetting around the world.

    The reality is much more sober and I think Sam's case is a tip of the iceberg.

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